Bond University is helping young entrepreneurs take on the world with one of the inaugural Bond Business Accelerator start-up companies highlighted earlier this year just selected as one of four Australian start-up companies to compete in a global competition in Washington, D.C. next year.
Hollie Gordon pitched her online solution, Milaana, to the judging panel of the 1776 Challenge Cup, a global competition to identify the most promising start-up companies solving the biggest challenges in education, energy, health and cities, in Sydney this week and won the education section.
Hollie, who graduated from Bond with a Bachelor of Business and International Relations earlier this year, said Milaana was a hindi word that meant 'to connect', with the website connecting university students with community projects for structured internships with heart.
“There were 26 start-ups involved in total and each one had to do a one minute pitch,” she said.
“The top two of each pillar were then selected to do a five minute pitch and much to my surprise we got through this and were then announced the winners of the education pillar.”
Hollie, founder and CEO of Milaana, said her start-up will now join three other Australian start-ups and a total of 64 globally in Washington D.C. for the Challenge Cup Global Finals to be held during the annual Challenge Festival.
The Challenge Cup Global Finals include a week of events focused on innovators from around the world and their transformative solutions to global challenges.
“We receive an all expenses paid trip to Washington and then take part in the five-day event including workshops, galas, roundtables and private meetings with executives, corporate partners, investors and entrepreneurs from around the world,” said Hollie.
“With almost 10,000 people participating, the mentorship and connections we will be exposed to will be invaluable.”
Hollie said participants would also receive significant media exposure with coverage by media partners and also through global media channels, giving her company global recognition.
She said Milaana is an online platform designed to create quality opportunities and connections that increase job readiness and community engagement for youth.
Milaana creates a new supply of project-based internships for students that combine the skills they wish to develop with the causes they care about.
To be used by community organisations and charities, Milaana promotes the cause-driven projects they need help with, detailing the project outline and the related positions that are available.
“We are a for-youth, by-youth social enterprise that understands and believes in the potential of this generation,” said Hollie.
“The idea was born out of my frustration by a lack of such a resource when I was a student."
Hollie said the event to select the four Australian start-ups to go to Washington was held at the Australian Technology Park and Innovation Centre in Sydney this week.
Bond University Bond Business School Assistant Professor of Entrepreneurship, Dr Baden U’Ren, said the Bond Business Accelerator program was ‘changing people’s lives’.
“To see Hollie and her start up selected as one of just four in Australia is a fantastic result and we wish her all the best in Washington in May next year,” he said.
“The Bond University Business Accelerator Program provides the springboard for potentially world leading companies to get a start.
“It is very exciting.”